Category

SEO

Should I update my website?

By SEO, Web Design, WordPress

We hear it almost every time we speak with a new client – “Should I update my website?”

If you’ve been asking yourself that question, then the answer is probably yes. But that doesn’t mean a big financial investment! Many people think that means a complete rebuild, but usually it’s just a matter of modernizing and updating what is already there.

Yes, your website works. People can find it, and it has the important information. But does it perform in search engines? Is it mobile friendly? Is it reliable? Even if the answers to all of those questions are yes, it’s still worth looking at redesigning your site if it hasn’t been updated in more than a few years.

It’s less expensive than many assume to overhaul and update a site. We have updated many websites in the space of two days, for thousands less than the company owner thought it would be!

Visual Appeal

People are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to online interactions. Visitors can easily tell if a website is old. Having an outdated website design tells visitors that the company doesn’t keep up with the times, and reflects poorly on the brand.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is central to virtually every company’s health and growth, and the company website is at the center of it all. In fact, every marketing a company makes leads to the website. If a site isn’t supporting marketing campaigns, those campaigns won’t perform as well as they could.

Security

Automated hackers can easily deposit code on older sites, even those from last year. Sometimes it’s not evident that your site has been hacked as they install unseen code that works for them unseen – masking for spam, false identities for fraud, your site can be utilized by criminals around the world if it is not secure. It’s critical to update your site regularly in order to foil these hackers and bots!

SEO

Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to prioritize the best websites for internet users. A site that is top ranked today can plunge tomorrow, if it’s not updated to meet current standards. For instance – sites that are not fully mobile friendly and touch-screen ready are being flagged and dropped at an increasing rate.

Load Times

Code updates can increase the load time of older sites, which results in a poor user experience and will drop a website’s SEO rankings. It’s important to regularly update websites to keep up with code standards and ensure an optimal load time.

There are many more reasons to consider when deciding when to upgrade or update your website. Call us today for your complimentary digital marketing consultation to find out where your site stands! 512-412-2967

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly? Not sure? Here is how you check!

By SEO, Web Design, WordPress

Is your website mobile friendly? The majority of users coming to your site are likely on a mobile device, and if your website isn’t mobile friendly you could be losing business simply because the site doesn’t work properly. We have all experienced it, you visit a site on your phone and you have to scroll then tap and zoom just to be able to read the text.

Every website we produce here at HS Creative is optimized to work seamlessly on mobile devices.  While using a separate mobile friendly version is an option, we generally advise against this as it can lead to content inconsistencies, along with duplicate content that can hurt your search engine optimization (SEO).  In our experience it’s far better to build your site mobile friendly from the start, saving you a lot of time and headaches in the long run!

If you are not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, Google has a great tool to check your site called the Mobile Friendly Test.

Do Keyword Meta Tags Help Your Website’s SEO?

By SEO, Web Design

Do keyword meta tags help boost your SEO ranking?

SEO (search engine optimization) is a tricky, ever changing landscape. The algorithms and data sets used by Google, Bing and the other search engines are constantly adjusting to accommodate the vast amount of information circulating throughout the World Wide Wonderland. Our challenge as optimizers working to help our clients is to anticipate these adjustments as we maintain websites and tweak content and code to secure a solid corner where their SEO is earning them organic traffic that results in customers or sales.  I do have a theory as to how Google develops its ranking algorithms – read it at your leisure and see if you agree.

Clients assume, understandably, that keyword meta tags are the first thing to insert into the code of your website pages to start optimizing. When Google first was a thing (remember that??) keyword meta tags embedded in the code at the top of the each page were critical – they were heavily weighted by the search engines, as that was before the days of the millions of click-bait websites that now clutter up the information highway.

Ok, so keyword meta tags have a history of being highly important. The question is, do keyword meta tags help your search engine ranking nowadays?

The answer is: NO they don’t.

Back in 2009, Google officially announced something they had already implemented – “Google no longer uses keyword meta tags in web ranking.”

That same year, Yahoo announced the same thing – they would no longer use keyword meta tags as a factor when determine website rankings. Bing’s announcement didn’t completely disavow keyword meta tags but the reality is the same. Keyword metatags were so heavily abused they became obsolete in terms of content indicators.

So why do so many people still take the time to enter them in? Habit, for one. Also, theres a feeling of “but what if they’re just SAYING they don’t use them for ranking, but they actually DO!” Well, there’s that possibility I suppose. But think about how many zillions of websites are out there who over the years have stuck any old keyword in the meta tags trying to climb in rankings without containing relevant content. It makes complete sense that they are now useless. Also, I really don’t think Google is trying to pull the meta wool over our eyes, with this one at least. They’d rather developers spend more time working on SEO that actually indicates legitimate content, that’s what helps Google in the long run as they can deliver higher quality content to the end user.

Let me be clear, I am NOT saying that meta tags in general are useless – I’m just talking about KEYWORD meta tags. Title and description tags among others are absolutely critical when working on your site’s SEO. You definitely should design your SEO efforts around your target keywords and phrases and incorporate them as much as you can into the content of your site – just don’t waste any time messing around with keyword meta tags. Instead, use that time to improve other angles of your site!

What is Google’s SEO Algorithm Development Process?

By SEO, Web Design

How exactly does Google figure out the algorithms they use to rank websites in search results? Wouldn’t we love to know!

SEO is a crazy wild west and the search engines have the job of trying to deliver high quality search results that show users exactly what they are looking for. It’s a mind boggling task, and the process is kept a tightly sealed mystery so that us SEO professionals are kept guessing.

Or at least it WAS – until now! I have top secret insider information that you will find nowhere else about how Google develops the algorithms that crawl the internet, parse the data and rank content. I made a journey to Google HQ and was taken to the center of the brain. Allow me take you on that same journey so you can see for yourself how Google creates SEO standards for ranking websites.

Here we go…

You have been traveling for days by air, train and boat, blindfolded, and have finally arrived at Google headquarters. As they remove your blindfold you see that you are within a ultra-high security compound, surrounded by an empty desert stretching as far as you can see. You are taken to the building at the center of the compound, where guards with machine guns escort you wordlessly through ten biometric security systems. Once inside, they shove you into a chamber that sprays you with some sort of decontaminating chemical and wait while you put on a full body hazmat coverall and space helmet. They write your name on a “My Name Is” sticker and slap it on your chest. You ask them why you have to wear this crazy getup and one dead-eyed guard mumbles “Google can’t have you contaminating their SEO geniuses with your disgusting peasant germs now, can we. Let’s go.”

You are taken through a white-tiled room, to a shiny metal elevator. As the doors slide open and you venture inside, you notice the Google logo inlayed in the back wall with what looks like gold. There are cameras in every corner that follow your movements. The doors seal silently behind you and suddenly you are plummeting downward, dropping at top speed, miles beneath the surface of the earth.

When you reach the bottom after what seems like an eternity, the doors open and you cautiously exit, entering a long hallway. Along the hallway there is a series of doors. You see a small glass window high up on the first door. You slowly approach the door and get your first look inside.

Standing higher on your tiptoes to try and see better, your space helmet clunks into the glass. What you see is a surprise – you assumed, understandably, that Google’s innermost headquarters would be sort of futuristic – sleek and minimalist, like the buildings miles above you. Don’t worry, everybody thinks that, it’s natural! You’re now one of just a handful of people on earth who know the truth.

The vast room you see as you peer through the glass looks strikingly like the library at Hogwarts. Countless books line the walls from floor to ceiling, with tall rolling ladders arranged to access them. Long wooden tables are illuminated with candles in tall ornate holders, evenly spaced along the length of the tables from end to end. The surfaces of the tables are overflowing with stacks and stacks of papers and books.

As you look around you count exactly one hundred frizzle-haired geniuses milling around. (You can tell they are geniuses because they are all wearing thick glasses and have suede patches on the elbows of their tweed jackets.) The armed guard at your elbow speaks up.

“In case you were wondering, there are ten vaults like this,” he says, and you realize that ten rooms each packed with a hundred geniuses think-tanking Google’s SEO algorithms is sort of perfect, with a googol being 10100 and all.

Some of the geniuses are hunched over computers, examining their screens and pecking at the keyboards with their index fingers. Some are paging through ancient, dusty tomes, muttering to themselves. Several are furiously scribbling equations with squeaky chalk on blackboards, occasionally mumbling and scrubbing out big sections with their tweed sleeves before starting in again. Some are simply staring into space, thinking.

Suddenly, you are startled when one of the nerd-geniuses (this particular one is an elderly red haired woman with an English accent) leaps up, dings a bell on the table and announces loudly, “Eureka! I have done it! A new algorithm! A new, brilliant Google algorithm! This is the one, I tell you! The one!” She looks around the room expectedly, beaming.

All the other geniuses in the room start listlessly clapping, but you can see them rolling their eyes at each other behind the excited red-haired lady genius’s back. Each of them clearly thinks the algorithm they are working on is WAY better than hers. The excited genius scribbles on a scrap of paper, yanks the door open and pushes her way past you to hurry top speed down the hallway, waving the scrap of paper in the air wildly and shouting “Eureka! Eureka!” as she runs. You follow closely behind, passing door after door of more genius-filled vaults, your space helmet fogging slightly as you break into a sweat trying to keep up with the red-haired lady (you’re not accustomed to running in a hazmat suit).

 

The genius slides to a halt in front of a massive oak door at the end of the hallway and starts banging an iron door knocker that looks like Medusa. The echoes from the door knocker reverberate down the hallway. A voice from behind the door growls “You may enter!”

You can’t believe what you are about to see! This is it! The center of Google! The answer to the ultimate SEO mystery!

 

The genius takes a deep breath, shoves her thick glasses higher on her nose and enters the room. She approaches the desk with reverence. She bows and holds the scrap of paper in front of her, like an offering. “I have a new Google algorithm, sir!”

You look past her…

and…

and…

this is what you see:

And that, my friends, is how Google develops the algorithms that rank websites. Now you know!